Fight Financial Clutter (or Do as I Say , Not as I Do)

As a financial adviser, I’ve seen a lot of clutter in people’s financial lives. I know people who have dozens of financial accounts. Problem is, the more accounts one has, the harder — and more time-consuming and stressful — it is to keep track of everything. I know one person, for instance, who has about a dozen different bank accounts, three brokerage accounts, and many stocks and mutual funds in these accounts. Though I typically don’t name people in my …

Sharing Accounts With Adult Children: A Good Idea?

 “I have an embarrassing secret. And if you’re a millennial, chances are you’ve got the same one.” The secret? Journalist Elizabeth Weingarten reveals in her Slate article,  “In Defense of the Digital Umbilical Cord,” that she is on her parents’ cellphone plan and “mooches off” their HBO Go and Netflix accounts. Apparently she was shamed by a Glamour magazine article that chastised that it’s not OK “if you’re 26 and your parents still pay your cellphone bill. Cut the cord on that …

Who Will Tend Your Memory on Facebook?

A couple of years ago at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, I met a guy in a superhero costume promoting his start-up, which he cheekily called Dead Social. His company’s mission statement: “Prepare for a Digital Death and Build Your Digital Legacy.” Start-up founder James Norris was onto something then, and Facebook this week joined digital giants Google and Apple in acknowledging that questions of what to do with your digital persona after death now loom large …

1 in 4 Didn’t Notice ID Theft for at Least 2 Years. Would You?

Identity theft is fast-moving. Are you asleep at the wheel? The sooner ID theft is discovered, the easier it is to repair the damage. And yet, 1 in 4 people did not know they were victims until at least two years later, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). That’s more than enough time to destroy your financial life and start a new one on your dime. Sixteen percent of 201 people from 39 states who contacted the ITRC in …

Prepaid Cards May Get Added Fraud Protections

Swipe a debit or credit card and all sorts of consumer protections are in place in case something goes awry. With a prepaid card, not so much. That may soon end. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing to extend many of the consumer rights that exist for credit and debit cards to prepaid products, such as limiting customers’ losses if their prepaid cards are lost or stolen. >> 10 Consumer Spending Regrets “People use prepaid accounts as a convenient way …

Is a Credit Freeze for You?

To freeze or not to freeze? It’s a common question, particularly after reports of yet another breach of payment card data like those at Home Depot, Kmart and Dairy Queen. The answer: Probably yes — but not because of those kinds of breaches. Certainly a credit freeze (also known as a security freeze) is a great way to proactively prevent identity theft and is advised for past victims of this crime who are likely to be targeted again. But it’s not foolproof and, …